Is the Formula for Coke Soda Patented?

Last Updated at: Feb 15, 2022
Coke Soda Patented

The unique and useful food recipe can have an intellectual property right through patenting it. A patent is there for 20 years and after that the recipe becomes public. Let’s see whether the formula for Coke Soda is patented or not.

Coca Cola Patent

Coke is a soft drink brand of Coca-Cola company – a leading multinational FMCG company well known for manufacturing Carbonated and Non-Carbonated beverages.

The coca-cola recipe was registered for the patent in 1893. However, the recipe that has changes over time but it will not have paptent again. They have a good reason to do so. To obtain a patent, the inventor is required to disclose the recipe fully that will be available for the public after 20 years. Instead, they choose to keep the coca-cola formula as a trade secret to ensure the recipe remains undisclosed.

What is a Coca Cola Trade Secret?

Trade secrets include unique invention/information that has economic value and is not publicly known. It can protect a trade secret for as long as the secret has maintanance. Unlike a patent, there will be no need to disclose the details of your trade secret to the public ever.

There are two categories of trade secrets. 

  1. Inventions that are not sufficiently inventive to meet the criteria for patentability.
  2. Inventions that are patentable and you have the option to patent it or keep it a trade secret. 

The Coca Cola Trade Secret falls under the second category. 

Trade Secret vs. Patent

Advantages of Trade Secrets

Unlimited Protection

Trade secret protection is available for an indefinite time. Protection will continue indefinitely as long as the secret has maintanance. The Coke recipe is a classic example of trade secrets. The world-famous soft drink has maintained its secret formula, for more than a century. 

Valuable for a not patentable invention

A trade secret is the only option an invention is not patentable. 

Beneficial for short duration Invention

Trade secret protection is really favorable for the technology having short duration strength in the market. Let’s say if an invention will become obsolete in less time than it would get patent i.e several years. Secondly, if the inventor can enjoy industrial advantage by being the first only.  

Immediate Effect without any cost

It gives immediate protection without any prosecution cost. However, trade secrets will be expensive to maintain because of the costs involved in the process of keeping the information secret. 

Patent Your Innovation Now

Advantages of Patent Protection

  1. Most Secured: Patent offers more protection than trade secrets. In case the secret of your invention having trade secret protection is a leak and they apply for the patent, you may sue for infringing that patent. You would hate to deny rights in your own invention.
  2. Right to exclude third parties: Trade secret protection does not prevent anyone from using a trade secret. It is the law of prevention from the improper means of acquiring trade secrets. For better understanding, if someone discovers Coke secret formula, trade secret protection can not prevent him from making a similar product. On the other hand, a Patent excludes third parties to use or make an invention. Moreover, potential licensees apply for Patents.

The Bottom Line

Deciding whether to patent an invention or give it a trade secret protection is extremely important, and the decision should not be made lightly without the assistance of a legal advice partner. For example the coca-cola company. The coke secret formula will now be available to copy from anyone if they have not chosen the Trade Secret Protection and maintain it. But there is another aspect also. Trade secrets can deprive of protection overnight if the secret formula is publicly disclose, even if it is unintentional disclosure. 

Examine various business and legal considerations before making the final decision. Vakilsearch team will assist you if you have any confusion and need legal advice about patents and trade secrets.